WRE PTA 2018-19 Community Disbursement Feedback

Common Input/Questions and PTA Response

 

Input/Question:

Do we really need all of that? Is the money being used for truly necessary items and meaningful contributions?

 

WREPTA Response:

This is a question which is circulated quite a bit.  Our school receives funds from RISD throughout the year based on many factors.  Our school does not meet the standards of a Title I school (child poverty rate of 40%).  Title I has benefited schools in many ways. Perhaps the most important is the funding itself. Public education is cash strapped and having Title I funds available affords schools the opportunity to maintain or initiate programs that target specific students. Without this funding, many schools would not be able to provide their students with these services. Furthermore, the students have reaped the benefits of Title I funds having opportunities that they otherwise would not have. In short, Title I has helped some students succeed when they may not have otherwise.  This funding is used for additional support staff, Math and Reading Specialists, paid Professional Development for Teachers, etc.  With 900 plus students it is the goal of the PTA to help our school achieve these same benefits by paying for additional recources to help our kids succeed.  We fill in the financial gaps that the funds given to our school cannot meet.  More than ever our focus is on education and how we can use your donations to assist our educators and children in the classroom to reach their best potential.

 

Input/Question:

I think the money used towards tutors is incredibly valuable.  I would consider even more if our teachers identify more children who can benefit from it. 

 

WREPTA Response:

Tutors: Our tutors have done an excellent job this year and we have been thankful to have them.  Every year we analyze how we have spent the money and how it has benefited the students and their education.  The committee has received feedback from WRE Administration, faculty, parents, and the tutors themselves on the contributions of these positions, and have analyzed the sustainability of our PTA continuing to offer this financial contribution.  Currently, the feedback received shows that we could benefit from having a second Instructional Specialist on our Campus to help reach all of our students and staff.  We have met with RISD and reviewed the data with them and requested they provide this position for next year.  We are awaiting their decision at this time.  The feedback we received also supports adding a part-time Math Specialist/tutor to our campus and a second nurse.  These positions would efficiently replace the five tutors the PTA currently provides, while making a much more purposeful impact on our entire student body & their education.  PTA is currently looking at funding the Math Specialist at this time.

 

Input/Question:

Also, the tech tutor you mentioned, I would love to see that continue. Our teachers have such a gift (if used properly) having class sets of iPads but they can't possibly have the time to develop an entirely new  tech curriculum to supplement what they are already doing. I love that someone can take what they are teaching and show them how to supplement with the iPads.

 

WREPTA Response:

Technology/Curriculum Integrations Specialist:  The results of survey sent to the faculty revealed that the teachers would very much like to have an individual on campus that can help them with integrating technology into their lesson plans.  This will allow the teachers to meet the TEKS technology requirements with greater purpose and efficiency.  PTA is currently looking at funding the this position at this time.

 

Input/Question:

I know the bond was supposed to cover security. I have yet to see a resource officer at our school, around our school, etc.

 

WREPTA Response:

Safety:  Last year we set aside a small amount of funds for RISD approved safety implementation.  At that time, RISD informed the communities that a committee was being pulled together to research and explore safety options which could be implemented in our schools.  We were told RISD would be taking care of those costs, the amount budgeted for those safety items was transferred into our Educational Enhancement fund to be used instead for needs that arose for teachers during the school year.

Please visit http://www.risd.org/group/districtnews/safety.html to review the RISD safety information

 

Input/Question:

I love the idea of a buddy bench, walking track and stadium seating for the kids and parents too. 

 

WREPTA Response:

Buddy Bench: Two years ago the 6th grade class gifted WRE with a buddy bench.  The construction halted the installation; however, the plan is to install it on the playground once complete.

 

Walking Track:  We have spoken with RISD regarding a walking track.  The current concrete is NOT a permanent fixture.  It is not reinforced slab so it will be easily removed upon completion of the playground.  Once the playground is complete, we fully intend to circle back with RISD on the opportunity to install a walking track…we too love the idea! 

 

Input/Question:

School supplies....

I know we did the one for all this year for field trips, etc. That was awesome, very inclusive of everyone.  What about school supplies? My heart always aches for the child who can't afford some things or shows up with nothing. Do we plan for that? 

 

WREPTA Response:

School supplies: Yes…we plan for that!  PTA reaches out to the teachers once all of the purchased school supplies have been delivered.  The teachers assess the quantity of students they have which may need financial assistance in securing and bringing school supplies to school. The teachers email the PTA with the quantity of grade level kits they need and the PTA orders and delivers the kits the following week.

 

Input/Question:

Could/has any of the money ever gone towards being a booster sponsor to the junior high and high school?  Or for the high school academic booster club?  There’s also the athletics booster too for the high school.

 

WREPTA Response:

Junior High/High School Booster Donations:  In years past, we have given to the Junior High PTA to help them fulfill the needs they see a need for in their school.  This year we plan to focus on the Junior High and High School food pantries.  The Junior High PTA has always been great at reaching out and allowing us to contribute if needed and if able.  We are excited to make these contributions this year.

 

Input/Question:

Chairs- I think it would be really nice to have enough chairs for parents and now “guests” to sit in when attending graduations, programs, etc. The chairs we currently have are heavy, cumbersome and hard to access (I know because I have crawled to the underneath side of the stage to retrieve the chairs).  Not sure what will happen to the current stage (storage of chairs) under the stage once our renovation is complete. Storing more chairs than we currently have to accommodate all guests may be too many...so, I propose we rent from a third party for these special occasions. No one wants to stand...just a thought.

 

WREPTA Response:

Chairs:  This is a great suggestion for future auction goals.  At this time, do not have a clear vision for what our storage and seating will look like.  This is something we would speak with RISD about first to ensure we are not paying for something that they are planning on improving/providing for us in the future.

 

Input/Question:

Teacher wish lists: I think teachers should be able to have their wish lists at the beginning of the year. This allows families a way to feel they are contributing to the class and to the needs of the teacher.  As a PTA, I think we should go to the teachers in late January/ February and ask if the have any needs. This could even be handled by the room reps. Reps can ask their teachers if they have any material/supply needs.

 

WREPTA Response:

Teacher Wish List:  We appreciate this input so much!  PTA provides each faculty member whom works with children $300 to help deflate the costs of preparing for the school year.  Teachers submit receipts and are reimbursed.  Those items that they turn in remain the property of White Rock Elementary and may not be taken with the teacher, on the chance they are no longer at the school.  The items we reimburse for are to be used to directly impact the children and their learning environment.  In the past, teachers have started the year with a “Wish List” for parents to contribute to the classroom.  Over the past three years, we have received and abundance of emails from parents asking the question, “Why are we being asked for supplies from our teachers, when our school raises so much money.”  This past year, PTA encouraged the teachers to hold off on the “wish list” at the beginning of the year for two reasons. 

 

The first reason is that RISD provides each grade level with a budget.  The teachers are to use that money and the approved vendors for their classroom needs (paper, supplies, materials, etc.) We also pushed the date from December to March for the teachers to turn in receipts to the PTA for their reimbursements for up-to $300 allowing the teachers more time in the year to purchase what they need.

 

The second reason is, by using their grade level budget and the $300 upfront, we are hoping to have a greater and more accurate understanding of when those funds are depleted and how we could provide for the teachers financially for the remainder of the year.  We have continued to encourage the teachers to reach out to the PTA for any needs they have first before asking the parents.  The idea is that “Wish List” could be made for the second semester on an as needed basis, if the PTA cannot fulfill those needs. This is a work in progress as we continue to strive to utilize the donations responsibly before asking the parents continue to provide. 

 

Input/Question:

Training for teachers to teach old school small group reading, does this even exist anymore?

 

WREPTA Response:

Training for small group reading:  We have had several parents inquire about reading groups this year.  RISD has adopted a new curriculum of the past two years and there are many differences our parents are noticing…reading groups being one of those.  We do not have any plans to provide training at this time; however, we highly encourage you to set up a call or meeting with your child's teacher so that they can explain the changes you are seeing in the curriculum, grades, and the way reading groups are now being utilized.

 

Input/Question:

With all the rain and our impending climate changes, I can’t help but know that we will continue to have challenges with our kids and recess. They clearly can’t go outside and play in the mud at recess, right? But what if we moved to something more like AstroTurf? Then, theoretically, they could still go outside. And ants would be much less of a problem. 

 

WREPTA Response:

Playground:  The PTA does not have any plans of putting money into the playground until after construction.  We have been told by RISD that after this next bond our school is slated for a playground update.

 

Input/Question:

Water dispensers throughout the school, and an initiative for our kids to use them and drink water routinely throughout the day

 

WREPTA Response:

Water Dispensers: Water dispensers will be added as part of the renovation in the newly constructed areas of the school.

 

Input/Question:

Reading and learning materials in the classroom that we are not receiving these requests from teachers to sign up for digital apps like Epic as a fundraiser for the classroom.

 

WREPTA Response:

Reading Materials: Last year and this year we have provided our Instructional Specialist with financial assistance to increase the Literature Library that is available for teachers.  There is a new reading curriculum being selected by RISD this year and those funds will help to stock the library with the appropriate Reading, Math, Science, Social Studies, etc resources that our teachers can check out for their classrooms.  Some teachers use the $300 gift to purchase book sets for their rooms. We encourage teachers to let us know if there are books they need for their rooms and we are happy to provide or reimburse those purchases with our Educational Enhancement funds.

 

Input/Question:

Playground, a soft non-wood chip option - that bouncy rubbery stuff would be amazing, as it’s not going to give children splinters, is non-molding and hypoallergenic, and can’t hide sharp and dangerous objects- needles, glass, etc

 

WREPTA Response:

Playground:  The PTA does not have any plans of putting money into the playground until after construction.  We have been told by RISD that after this next bond our school is slated for a playground update.

 

Input/Question:

Give more to other schools, particularly for times when school isn’t in session and children need meals, clothing, maybe more enrichment activities

 

WREPTA Response:

We give to multiple schools each year. A selected school gets 1% of our auction proceeds every single year, Northlake, LHJH, Thurgood Marshall have all been recipients in the past.  This year we are planning on donating that 1% to Stults PTA because one of our community members has been volunteering with the school and reached out to us with specific needs.  We were able to donate $1000 to help complete the Skyview garden, have purchased LL1 reading kits for Thurgood, and voted to donate our portion of Hoops in the Highlands each year.  Each year we receive multiple requests for donations.  All of these donations are brought to the PTA Board for a discussion and vote, followed by a vote at the General PTA meeting prior to distribution.  We are excited this year to have been contacted by the LHJH PTA regarding the opportunity to contribute to their food pantry.  We are excited to be submitting for a vote at the April general PTA meeting donations to both LHJH & LHHS food pantries.

 

Input/Question:

I know moneys were put toward a part time IT person on the WRE campus last year... are we aware of all the free resources for IT and other things that teachers can receive at Region 10?

 

WREPTA Response:

Actually, no money was allocated by the PTA to the school with the purpose of hiring a part time IT placement, nor did we contribute towards technology in general. (Last years disbursements can be found here:https://wrepta.membershiptoolkit.com/assets/00712/18-19/2017_Auction_Disbursements.docx).The money was provided for tutors, one of those tutors began to see a need among the teachers for assistance Integrating Technology into the lesson plans and has proven to be beneficial in this role.  We are aware that RISD provides many staff development opportunities, along with traveling Professional Development Technology professionals.  For further information on RISD Technology, please visit http://www.risd.org/Group/Departments/Instructional_Technology/ProfessionalDevelopment.html

 

Input/Question:

We would love to see a fully plumbed/functioning restroom structure and water fountains on the ball fields of WRE. It’s so hard to have ball practices and wreck the night without a restroom. This is obviously complicated as it would need some sort of reoccurring funding commitment to ensure maintenance but this would be a huge improvement to our school.

 

WREPTA Response:

During the Design phase of the school two years ago, this suggestion was brought up to RISD and the architecture firm.  The discussion revealed many issues/concerns with adding this element.  The City of Dallas would have to give approval for installing these items and given we are in a flood plan, that plumbing installation is highly unlikely. There is the issue of maintenance…RISD would not maintain the structure, so it would be up to parents to maintain/clean/lock the unit.  This structure would be on school grounds and safety was a huge concern.  Since WRE is not a public park, but  school grounds this idea was not approved.

 

Input/Question:

I would love to see playground sun shades over some or all of the equipment.  It is so hot here for most of the year and often times the equipment is too hot to touch making it hard to play and slide.

 

WREPTA Response:

Two years ago, the auction raised $35,577.00 for shade structures and picnic tables.  The decision to build on to WRE also occurred at the end of that year.  As this is a common ask among the community, we have continued to set these funds aside so that once the construction has ended, we have a firm understanding of what our playground will consist of, we see the updates RISD is planning on making to the playground, then we can use this money to add the permanent shade structures.

 

Input/Question:

Set aside money for less fortunate kids or kids in  financial troubles to help pay for all the extras like field trips, sixth grade fees, helping them buy books with the class scholastic order, and all the extras that some kids never get to participate in because of money.

 

WREPTA Response:

The PTA One for All fund ensures no child is left out of activities such as field trips, t-shirts, trips, 6th grade fees, book fair books and all the extra’s.  It is of the upmost importance to the WRE PTA that every child at the school benefits from the generosity of the parents donations.

 

Input/Question:

Just my two cents... I would love to see us spend money on some after school activities such as STEM classes, Science and Math opportunities at school outside regular classroom assignments.

 

WREPTA Response:

This is also a common ask we are taking seriously this year.  PTA representatives have met with RISD to see how we can use our funds to implement more hands on STEM activities.  We first want to see what is available through RISD.  We have submitted proposals of how this could be brought to our school and we are currently awaiting feedback from RISD.  We are hoping to address this with the funds we are allocating at the May PTA meeting.

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